New Fire House Ground Breaking Could Begin This Year


At the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, October 28, 2019, Mayor Forthofer reported that the New Fire House One Committee met with Thomas & Marker Construction on October 24th. Final drawings were reviewed.

“Chief Stempowski and his crew have been working hard to insure necessary operational features are incorporated,” stated the mayor. “The budget is still $4 million, though the composition will change as T&M goes out to bid for a contactor. T&M bids are expected back December 1st.”

Once the construction partner is chosen, the City will revisit the budget and drawings and what features are in or out, according to the mayor.

Initial ground breaking may begin this year with foundation work in spring 2020 and the building going up during the summer.

The Vermilion Firehouse Committee recommended to Vermilion City Council in November 19, 2018 a $3.7 million project to construct a new fire station, replacing Station No. 1 on Ohio Street. The new station will be located at Douglas Street and Devon Drive. Vermilion City Council voted to approve the submitted plans.

The current station, No. 1, was built in 1954. At that time fire engines were the size of a large SUV. When the current modern engine is parked in the house, it takes four men to guide it into place with six inches to spare on the left side and three inches in the back. Also, when original engines were called out, they left the bay and headed to the call. The length of the current truck requires a three-stage pull out to get it positioned on the street to begin making its run.

The Vermilion Firehouse Committee examined options, such as buying up residential houses, to create a drive through. It would be costly and compromise the look of historic downtown, according to the Committee. Plus there is no place for drying racks, showers or beds. Even though the department is volunteer, there are times, such as snow storms, when Vermilion Fire Department personnel are required to sleep on station for fast response. Currently they are sleeping on the seats of the engine, the floor, etc.

The chief’s wish list included everything currently housed at station No. 1 with the addition of a training room, inside drying rack, decontamination station, a few beds, command center, cleaning station and expansion room.